Chengdu art exhibition welcomed by London audience

Updated: 2013-02-18 10:12

By Cecily Liu (China Daily)

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Chengdu art exhibition welcomed by London audience

A series of panda paintings by artist Liu Xiaoping [Photo by Cecily Liu / China Daily]

The beauty and richness of China popular tourist city Chengdu are brought to London audience on Friday in the form of Chinese traditional painting, showing its high mountains, colorful flowers and fruits, clear lakes and the giant panda.

Painted by brush dipped in black or colored ink, Chinese traditional painting is famous for combining objects with emotion and imagination. It effectively communicated to a Western audience Chengdu’s natural beauty and the artists’ love for their homeland.

Held in Central London's Art Galleries Europe London Gallery, the ‘East Meets WI: Chengdu Art Exhibition London’ is hosted by the Chengdu Association for Cultural Exchange with Foreign Countries, to promote Chengdu’s image and attract tourism. It shows about 40 paintings from seven artists from Chengdu. "The purpose of this exhibition is to communicate. We are exhibiting our work in London to show a western audience the beauty of Chengdu, its landscape, its people and its pandas," said Li Hui, an artist whose work is exhibited.

"We are sharing with our London friends the best of what we have, and make them understand why Chengdu is unlike any other city. Therefore we have included with our works many recognizable features of our homeland," Li added.

One example is a group of two pictures by Li depicting Jiuzhaigou Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site near Chengdu. The paintings showed bright blue water in the lakes in the shades of jade. In the foreground are woods of tall pine trees, and gentle waterfalls. The woods on the tall mountains in the background blend in with the color of the sky, existing only in a dream-like presence.

"Art is a good form of communication, and communication brings understanding. We hope that we can contribute to the growing understanding between the East and West," artist Chen Chengji added.

His works on display focus on flowers and plants, including bright red peony, purple wisteria, and tall bamboo, famous for being the food of giant pandas.

Meanwhile, situated at the front of the gallery is a series of panda paintings by artist Liu Xiaoping. Featuring different activities by one panda or a group of pandas in each picture, the series show the panda’s playful nature that render them so adorable.

For example, one picture showed a panda riding a wooden horse toy, while its mate played with a soft ball, one picture showed a big panda chasing after a leaf, while being hugged by a smaller panda, and one picture showed two pandas curiously looking at the snow.

Painted in the style of ‘gong-bi’, which uses highly detailed brushstrokes, the pandas’ fur and claws could be seen extremely clearly, giving them a lifelike appearance.

Another highlight of the exhibition is an eight meter long painting by artist Zhang Ziqi, titled ‘England – a journey in ink’.

Depicting famous British landmarks including Tintern Abbey in Wales and the Houses of Parliament in London, in the form of Chinese traditional painting, the work symbolizes a fusion of the two cultures.

In 2011, Zhang spent two months travelling in England, from its busy cities to tranquil towns. He then created this painting based on his feelings for his journey.

The painting arranges the landmarks not in a particular order, but instead mixing them to create contrasts of bright colors. For example, the shades of grey of Tintern Abbey are balanced out by rows of cottages with bright red tops.

This exhibition is one of many events that the Chengdu Association for Cultural Exchange with Foreign Countries has hosted in London to promote the city’s image over the years.

For example, it hosted an advertising campaign showing panda images on London’s iconic black cabs from June to August last year, to promote Chengdu tourism to visitors from all over the world gathering in London for the Olympics.

Deputy Secretary-General Luo Wei said that the association will continue to host many similar events in the future to promote the city internationally.

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